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CIA Director Pompeo Reveals Incredible Insight Into Trump’s Presidency Few Have Seen Firsthand


Reported By Joe Setyon | January 24, 2018 at 6:43am

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournal.com/cia-director-pompeo-reveals-incredible-insight-trumps-presidency-seen-firsthand/

The man who oversees U.S. intelligence operations indicated that his boss, President Donald Trump, has an ability to grasp information rivaling that of longtime intelligence professionals.

Speaking Tuesday at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, CIA Director Mike Pompeo praised the manner by which the president receives and processes knowledge from intelligence briefings.

“I have seen 25-year intelligence professionals receive briefings,” Pompeo told AEI’s Marc Thiessen. “I would tell you that President Trump is the kind of recipient of our information at the same level that they are.” 

The CIA chief continued, noting that Trump receives briefings lasting between 30 and 40 minutes on almost daily basis, during which he “asks hard questions” and is “deeply engaged.”

He has the grounding for him to be able to grasp this information in a way that he can ask sophisticated questions that then lead to important policy discussions,” Pompeo said. 

“We’ll be sitting at a National Security Council meeting talking about a particular tropic,” Pompeo added, offering an example of Trump’s ability to process and retain information. “He’ll bring up something that I briefed him on weeks or months ago.”

The CIA director acknowledged the possibility that Trump already knew the information in question before getting briefed on it. But this type of scenario happens so often, Pompeo said, that he’s inclined to think Trump is recalling prior intelligence briefings.

“This happens time and time again,” Pompeo said.

“So it’s not simply the case that this is an exercise. He’s using it, he’s taking it on board, and I’m confident that our team is delivering in a way that’s delivering value to the president and … our other senior policymakers as well.”

Pompeo’s remarks on the president’s reception of intelligence information seemed to push back on prior reports claiming Trump has trouble staying focused,

In May 2017, a source told Reuters that National Security Council officials include Trump’s name in “as many paragraphs as (they) can because he keeps reading if he’s mentioned.” Moreover, the president reportedly prefers one-page memos and visual aids like charts, graphs and photos.

“He likes to visualize things,” a senior administration official said at the time. “The guy’s a builder. He has spent his whole life looking at architectural renderings and floor plans.”

Questions regarding Trump’s ability to take in and process information resurfaced in December, when The Washington Post reported that his daily briefing, or PDB, is “often structured to avoid upsetting him.”

“If you talk about Russia, meddling, interference — that takes the PDB off the rails,” said one former senior U.S. intelligence official.

But Pompeo painted a much different portrait —  one of a president who takes his intelligence briefings very seriously.

“The president asks hard questions. He’s deeply engaged. We’ll have (a) rambunctious back and forth,” he said.

Defense Secretary Mattis: Government Shutdown Will Have a ‘Terrible Impact’ on Troops


Reported by Kristina Wong | 19 Jan 2018

URL of the original posting site: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/01/19/defense-secretary-mattis-government-shutdown-will-have-a-terrible-impact-on-troops/

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday morning that a government shutdown would have a “terrible impact” on military operations.

“Our maintenance activities will probably pretty much shut down. We will not be able to induct any more of our gear that need maintenance,” he said Friday morning at the Johns Hopkins University, where he was unveiling the National Defense Strategy.

The government is barreling towards a shutdown at 11:59 p.m. Friday night, with the Senate unable to pass a 2018 spending bill or a stop-gap measure to keep the government running. At issue is immigration reform. Democrats have refused to pass a spending measure unless there is a fix for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which the president rescinded last year, but gave Congress until March 5 to fix.

Republicans argue Democrats are willing to put the issue ahead of the U.S. military, which has been seriously affected by budget instability.

In the event of a shutdown, troops and some civilians will continue to report to work and accrue pay, but will not receive paychecks during the shutdown.

Mattis said half of his civilian workers would be furloughed, which would impact operations from contracting to military medical facilities.

“There is any number of projects we have underway that keep me at the top of my game and our military at the top of our game that are handled by civilians,” he said.

“It’s got a huge morale impact,” he added. “I’ll just tell you — how long can you keep good people around when something like this happens, is always a question that’s got to hover around in the back of my mind.”

He said intelligence operations would also be impacted.

“I would just tell you that we do a lot of intelligence operations around the world and they cost money. Those obviously would stop,” he said.

Troops themselves would also be impacted, Mattis said. While active duty troops would continue to report for duty during a shutdown, reservists would not report for duty For example, he said, “this morning or last night young guys and gals somewhere in Wyoming were driving off to do their weekend duty.”

“Those troops will arrive there at their armories, by the way, and told go home if there’s a government shutdown, and they will then drive a couple hundred miles back home. These again are stoic men and women, they’ll suck it up and say okay,” he said.

“And I would just tell you that training for almost our entire reserve force will stop and you must understand the critical importance of our reserves,” he said.

He called reserve troops the “only shock absorber” the U.S. military has.

“It’s not like the old days where you could draft somebody in and 18 weeks later have them in combat with the skills they need.

“Today’s infantrymen, they’re called infantrymen because they’re infant solders, young soldiers. They still take a year to train in order to have them ready to use the gear they have on them and make certain they have the ethical and tactical abilities to deal with the battlefield today,” he said.

“So it’s got a terrible impact.”

Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White tweeted on Friday:

The government shutdown is destructive and puts unnecessary stress on the already stressful jobs of our service members. Time to put the money where the votes are and write the check! #FY18budget #PassTheBudget.”

Venezuela: Maduro Raises Minimum Wage by 40 Percent to $2 a Month


Reported by Ben Kew | 3 Jan 2018

URL of the original posting site: http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2018/01/03/venezuela-maduro-raises-minimum-wage-by-40-percent-to-2-a-month/

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, shown in this November 24, 2017 file photo, maintains that the United States is carrying out “financial persecution” against Caracas | AFP/AIZAR RALDES

Venezuela’s socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro has raised his country’s minimum wage by a further 40 percent, meaning public sector employees will now earn around two dollars a month in his seventh and final major hike of 2017.

“We have good news regarding the protection and stability of all the workers,” said Maduro in a televised address. “I am announcing the rise of the national minimum wage by 40 percent for all our doctors and public sector workers.”

The move means that working Venezuelans will now receive a basic salary of 248,510 bolivares, equivalent to $2.02 a month. On top of that, they are also handed an increased food ticket worth 549,000 bolivares worth $4.46, meaning their total income amounts to around $6.48.

Over the course of 2017, Maduro instigated seven separate minimum wage hikes in order to fight back at what he describes as an “economic war” led by the United States and other Western powers against his regime. However, the hikes are only like to worsen the country’s unprecedented rates of inflation continually depleting the value of its currency, meaning that figure is only likely to fall.

According to latest figures, inflation rose by a staggering 1,369 percent between January and November last year. The figures were only released by the country’s opposition, as the Maduro regime refuses to publish them.

As part of his socialist “Bolivarian revolution,” Maduro’s late predecessor Hugo Chávez would boast of Venezuela having the highest minimum wage in Latin America, equivalent to $372 a month. However, inflation began to soar as early as 2007 and accelerated further after oil prices crashed in 2012. In recent years, Venezuelans have been seen carrying thousands of banknotes to buy the simplest of products, in scenes similar to Germany’s Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation crisis. The government has responded by introducing higher denomination bank notes, although even the maximum note of 100,000 bolivares is still worth under one dollar.

Hyperinflation is just one of many serious economic problems faced by the regime, who in November defaulted on their debts, which amount to around $200 billion, mainly owed to Russia and China. The government is also facing the pressure of economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, which mainly target the country’s state-run oil company, Petroleum of Venezuela, as well as a number of government officials.

The Maduro regime is currently moving forward with plans to launch its own national cryptocurrency known as the ‘Petro,’ backed by the nation’s considerable reserves of oil, gold, and diamonds.

Follow Ben Kew on Facebook, on Twitter at @ben_kew, or email him at bkew@breitbart.com.

House committees announce probe into Russia uranium deal


Reported

Nunes announces uranium deal investigation

Two powerful House committees on Tuesday announced a joint investigation into the 2010 sale of a uranium company with holdings in the U.S. to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom. Lawmakers on the two panels, the House Intelligence and Oversight and Government Reform Committees, say they first want to know whether there was an FBI investigation into Russian efforts to infiltrate the U.S. energy market, which at the time included assuming shares of the uranium company, Uranium One.

“We’re not going to jump to any conclusions at this time, but one of the things we’re concerned about is whether or not there was an FBI investigation — was there a DOJ investigation — and if so, why was Congress not informed of this matter? That will be the start of the probe,” Intel head Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told reporters in the basement of the Capitol.

The Hill reported last week that the FBI had gathered evidence that Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks as part of an effort to grow Russian President Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States — an investigation that predated the approval of the Uranium One sale.

The lawmakers want to know whether the deal should have been approved in the first place.

Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) on Monday cited “very, very real concerns about why we would allow a Russian-owned company to get access to 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.”

“It’s important we find out why that deal went through.”

The House investigation retreads familiar ground for Republicans, who have used the issue of the sale to try to discredit former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton since it was revealed in conservative author Peter Schweitzer’s 2015 book “Clinton Cash.” 

The approval for the takeover was inked by a nine-agency review board that included the State Department when Clinton was secretary. 

Uranium One controlled land equal to about 20 percent of the U.S.’s uranium capacity, according to Oilprice.com — although experts note that the U.S. doesn’t actually produce a significant amount of the world’s uranium stock.

Rosatom began buying shares in the Toronto-based company in 2009 and in 2010 sought to obtain majority ownership, a deal which required the review board approval. 

Republicans have long accused the former secretary of tying the State Department’s approval of the takeover to $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation. 

The State Department did not take unilateral action but instead was one of the nine agencies on the review board, known as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The Clinton campaign has maintained that the then-secretary of State was not directly involved in the process.

King raised his concerns with the Treasury Department at the time and said Tuesday that he was assured that the issue would be fully investigated.

“Obviously, we want to see what happened to that inquiry — what information caught their attention, what they knew then and why they acted or didn’t act,” King said.

Since that time, the lawmakers said, a confidential informant “who wants to talk about his role in this” has come forward to the committees.

The two panels are currently in discussions with the Justice Department to release that individual from a nondisclosure agreement.

“Look, it’s possible, maybe there was no FBI or DOJ investigation going on — that’s possible. We’re not going to jump to any conclusions,” Nunes said Tuesday.

The announcement of the investigation came within 30 minutes of the announcement of a separate investigation, by the Oversight and Judiciary Committees, into the Obama Justice Department’s handling of the Clinton email investigation.

Nunes and King, alongside Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), did not mention Clinton by name in their announcement on Tuesday, and Nunes declined to say whether the committees expected to call her forward to testify.

“It’s a little premature. Let us first determine whether or not there was an open investigation by FBI or DOJ and then we’ll get back to you with more information,” Nunes told reporters.

Clinton told C-SPAN on Monday that renewed focus on Russian uranium deals approved during her tenure is nothing more than debunked “baloney” — and signals that Republicans are getting nervous about the federal investigation into Russia’s attempts to swing the 2016 election. That probe includes looking for any signs of collusion with the Trump campaign itself.

Other House Democrats echoed her assessment on Tuesday, calling the two new investigations a partisan exercise intended to divert attention away from the media frenzy surrounding the various Russia investigations.

“These investigations were initiated on a partisan basis and will shed no light on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, but then again they are not intended to do so,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

“Acting on the urging of the President who has repeatedly denied the intelligence agencies’ conclusions regarding Russian involvement in our election, they are designed to distract attention and pursue the president’s preferred goal — attacking Clinton and Obama.”

Republicans view the Uranium One probe as distinct from the broader House Intelligence Committee investigation into Russian election meddling, long stymied by partisan infighting.

Nunes, who said he would step back from leading that probe this spring, said that he has as of yet had no contact with the White House on this investigation.

The chairman in April faced accusations from Democrats of carrying water for Trump when he announced that he had briefed the White House on information that turned out to have come from staff on the president’s National Security Council.

House leadership is fully behind the Uranium One probe, DeSantis said Tuesday.

– This report was updated at 3:44 p.m. EST


US And Allies Send Military Message To North Korea


Reported 

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournalism.com/us-and-allies-send-military-message-to-north-korea-2/?

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The three nations threatened by North Korea’s nuclear missile program united for a show of force Sunday aimed at reminding Kim Jong-un’s regime that they have dominant air power in the Korean skies.

The United States sent four fighters and two bombers to fly alongside four South Korean fighters over the region near the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas. The U.S. aircraft also joined four Japanese fighters to fly over the waters near Kyushu, a Japanese island in close proximity to the Korean Peninsula.

The American planes included two B-1B Lancer bombers from Andersen Air Force Base on Guam, and four Marine Corps F-35B fighters from the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Japan, according to U.S. Pacific Command.

It is the second time in the past month that B-1Bs and F-35s have been sent over the Korean Peninsula.

The Pacific Command said the jets, which conducted live-fire exercises, were sent up in response to the Sept. 14 launch of a North Korean missile. The missile flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

The military exercise came as U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley reminded the word that the United States is getting tired of talking about a resolution to the North Korean crisis.

“If North Korea keeps on with this reckless behavior, if the United States has to defend itself or defend its allies in any way, North Korea will be destroyed,” Haley said. “And we all know that, and none of us want that.”

Haley said the U.S. has been doing everything it can to find a diplomatic solution for the crisis, while leaving military action as a possible last resort.

“We wanted to be responsible and go through all diplomatic means to get their attention first. If that doesn’t work, General Mattis will take care of it,” she said, referencing Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster said time has all but run out.

“This regime is so close now to threatening the United States and others with a nuclear weapon, that we really have to move with a great sense of urgency on sanctions, on diplomacy and preparing, if necessary, a military option,” McMaster told Fox News Sunday. 

Three Killed, Over 200 Wounded As Muslim Rioters Rage Over Temple Mount


Reported by Aaron Klein | 21 Jul 2017

URL of the original posting site: http://www.breitbart.com/jerusalem/2017/07/21/three-killed-200-wounded-muslim-rioters-rage-temple-mount/

Protest leaders, including top Palestinian officials, claim the metal detectors are part of an Israeli conspiracy to hamper Muslim worship at the Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and a site considered holy in Islam. The activists and Palestinian officials seemingly fail to note that Israel’s new security measures were put into place in direct response to the murderous Palestinian terrorist attack at the Mount last Friday in which three assailants somehow smuggled weapons onto the site.  The metal detectors will protect all visitors to the Mount, including Muslim worshipers.  

The activists protesting at the Temple Mount ignore that metal detectors have been in place for years for Jewish and Christian worshipers accessing the Western Wall. And Muslims on the Hajj pilgrimage pass through metal detectors at airports and border crossings.

temple mount

A Palestinian uses a slingshot against Israeli soldiers during violent clashes in the West Bank city of Bethlehem (AP/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

On Friday, Israeli Police cited information that “extremist elements” where planning to “to cause violent disruptions to the public order, and thereby to threaten the public peace, including the [safety] of those coming to pray at the holy sites and other residents of the area.” 

As a result, Israeli security forces erected checkpoints at main entrances to Jerusalem and are blocking several roads leading to the Temple Mount area. Some 3,000 police forces were deployed to Jerusalem’s Old City in addition to five Israel Defense Forces battalions that have been put on standby.

The Times of Israel reported on Friday’s ensuing deadly clashes: 

The Palestinian Authority’s official Wafa news agency said a 17-year-old was killed in Ras al-Amud outside the Old City after being shot by a “settler,” though no shooter was identified; the term is often used by Palestinians to refer to any Israeli out of uniform. The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the teen as Muhammad Mahmoud Sharaf from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

A second person was reportedly shot in the A-Tur area of east Jerusalem and died of his wounds at Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem. The third death reportedly occurred in Abu Dis in the West Bank, near Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Over 200 people were reported injured in the clashes across Jerusalem and the West Bank on Friday, the Palestinian Red Crescent said, adding that the injuries were incurred from live bullets, rubber-coated bullets, burning and tear gas inhalation.

There were reports of other clashes between Israeli forces and rioters across eastern sections of Jerusalem and in several West Bank locations, including checkpoints.

temple mount

Palestinian youths hurl stones towards Israeli police officers during clashes in Jerusalem. (AP/Mahmoud Illean)

Some of those arrested included officials from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party.

The Jerusalem Post further reported

According to Palestinian reports, 10 residents were arrested in east Jerusalem, among them were Fatah officials. 

Some 400 Muslims attended the prayer next to the Gate of the Tribes (Bab al-Asbat), the place that sparked the violence earlier this week. Before the prayer, the leader called on the attendees to be patient, and said that “the Jews, that are occupying Palestine, are on their way to hell.”

Ynet posted an update on the number of injured: 

The Palestinian Red Crescent says 41 Palestinians were taken to hospitals or clinics with injures from live fire, rubber bullets and beatings. About 150 Palestinians were treated for tear gas inhalation.

 Four Israeli police officers have been reportedly injured in the clashes after being struck with stones and flares.

The Palestinian charge that Israel is hampering Muslim access to the Temple Mount is contradicted by facts on the ground. Israel allows the Jordanian-controlled Waqf to serve as custodians of the Mount and grants Muslim worshipers access to the site 24 hours per day, seven days a week with the exception of rare instances of security threats.

Jewish and Christian visitors, however, are restricted by the Waqf from visiting the Mount except on small tours for about two hours per day. The Waqf does not allow non-Muslims to pray on the Mount or bring holy objects to the site; whereas Muslim prayer is unrestricted. Waqf representatives closely monitor non-Muslim visitors to the site and are known to boot those engaging in prayer.

west bank riot temple mount

Palestinians throw stones against Israeli soldiers during clashes in the West Bank city of Bethlehem (AP/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

Israel on Thursday partially blamed the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for helping to fuel anti-Israel incitement regarding false threats to the Temple Mount.

“UNESCO is a full partner to the false incitement by Palestinians and radical Islam who claim that Al-Aksa [Temple Mount mosque] is in danger,” Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO in Paris Carmel Shama HaCohen said

Last Friday’s Mount terrorist attack occurred less than two weeks after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed an anti-Israel resolution declaring Jerusalem’s Old City and its ancient walls to be “occupied” sites and listed the areas as Palestinian heritage sites in “danger.” 

The Temple Mount is located in Jerusalem’s Old City, and last Friday’s attack occurred near the Lions Gate, part of Jerusalem’s ancient walls singled out by UNESCO.

And the terrorist attack took place one week after UNESCO passed another anti-Israel resolution regarding the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron – considered the second holiest site in Judaism after the Temple Mount – claiming the tomb is a “Palestinian” world heritage site in danger. 

 Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

Unimpressed Trump Sends Pentagon Back to the Drawing Board on Afghanistan


Reported by Edwin Mora | 20 Jul 2017

URL of the original posting site: http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/07/20/trump-wont-accept-afghan-war-strategy-that-mirrors-approach-of-the-past/

The meeting came as the Pentagon briefed lawmakers about plans to increase the U.S. military footprint in the country.

Contrary to mainstream media claims that the president has taken a completely hands-off approach to the 16-year-old conflict in Afghanistan, Trump presided over Wednesday’s meeting primarily aimed at discussing the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan, a Trump administration official familiar with the deliberations told Breitbart News on condition of anonymity.

President Trump indicated that he is not satisfied with the strategy as it currently stands.

The Pentagon and White House National Security Council (NSC) declined to provide specifics about the developing plan.

President Trump demanded that his team go back to square one if necessary and create a realistic plan that ensures Afghanistan is ultimately able to stand on its own as a country, said the administration official, noting that the meeting served as a sort of wake up call for those involved in developing the strategy.

It appears that besides the Pentagon, the NSC has at least some authority in setting the strategy.

Asked about the meeting, the Pentagon did not confirm nor deny that the President asked officials to go back to the drawing board.

“We’re not going to discuss White House meetings or direction,” said Adam Stump, a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) spokesman, when Breitbart News asked whether or not it has been forced to start developing the Afghanistan war strategy from scratch and when it expects to present the plan to Trump.

The NSC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters last Friday a decision on the new plan would be unveiled around “mid-July” or “somewhere around there. We are driven by the maturity of the discussion, and where we’re at, we are not going to meet some timeline if we are not ready, but we are pretty close.” 

Trump has granted the Pentagon the authority to decide how many additional troops to deploy to the war-ravaged country. Currently, Mattis may increase that number of troops by between 3,000 and 5,000, from the 8,400 already there. Mattis noted on Friday that the number of additional troops has not been “finalized yet,” adding that the Pentagon is waiting from input from the U.S. State Department.

Citing unnamed U.S. officials, CNN reports that as it currently stands, the strategy:

Encompasses a way ahead in Afghanistan, including the possibility of sending more troops, but also a look at new ideas for dealing with Pakistan, which the US believes is supporting or turning a blind eye to a number of terror groups operating inside the country.

The president made it clear he is not interested in any approach that resembles the strategies used by his predecessors and will not accept anything less than a dramatic overhaul, the official told Breitbart News.

Directly dealing with Pakistan’s support for terrorists fighting the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan would mark a significant departure from what America has done in the past.

Most of the 2,255 U.S. military fatalities and 20,245 injury incidents have taken place in provinces that border Pakistan.

The Pentagon spokesman defined what victory in Afghanistan means for the Trump administration, saying it ultimately involves a settlement with the Taliban and terrorists laying down their arms.

Stump told Breitbart News:

The U.S. strategy in Afghanistan remains centered on working with NATO allies, operational partners, and the international community to defeat the remnants of core al Qaeda and to defeat other violent extremist organizations and terrorist groups, such as ISIS-K [Islamic State], to ensure that Afghanistan does not again become a safe-haven for groups to plan and execute attacks against the United States, U.S. persons overseas, or allies and partners; and continuing efforts to provide financial and advisory support to the Afghan Government and to enable a well-trained, equipped, and sustainable ANDSF [Afghan National Defense and Security Force] that provides security in Afghanistan.

The U.S. and Afghan Governments agree that the best way to ensure lasting peace and security in Afghanistan is through reconciliation and a political settlement with the Taliban. The United States supports an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned reconciliation process and supports any process that includes violent extremist groups laying down their arms.

Citing unnamed U.S. officials, the Washington Post (WaPo) reports that the current U.S.-Afghan war is framed around a four-year plan to degrade the Taliban this is unlikely to “yield significant results until its later stages.”

In recently issued reports, the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon have accused Pakistan of willingly serving as a safe-haven for the Taliban and its affiliates, including the deadly Haqqani Network.

The Taliban affirmed its relationship with al-Qaeda in December 2016.

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